Willie Coffey MSP

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Willie Coffey MSP

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  • Member for: Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley
  • Region: South Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Willie is a member of the following Committees:

Willie is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Willie Coffey

European and External Relations Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Willie Coffey

I thank the European Parliament members for their contributions. I just want to clarify something with Mr Coburn. We might express different political views, but does he agree that we should support the concept of a digital single market in Europe because it will support growth and competitiveness?



European and External Relations Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Willie Coffey (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)

Good morning, colleagues. It is nice to see you.

According to the European Commission, 90 per cent of jobs in Europe will by 2020 require some form of digital skills, and I was pleased to see the connected digital single market being one of Mr Juncker’s 10 priorities. I would be grateful to hear the panel’s views on that. Two aspects are of specific interest to me; the first is the progress on making digital connectivity and broadband infrastructure more competitive, and the second is the digital skills agenda. In that respect, a European Commission report published in only the past few weeks has highlighted that digital competency, particularly among youngsters, needs to be improved.

First of all, in that case, do you support the aims and objectives of the digital single market, and do you think that it contributes to jobs, growth and competitiveness? Secondly, how can we improve our youngsters’ skills and competencies, particularly in this digital age?



Public Audit Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Willie Coffey

Let us remember that an additional £100 million has gone into supporting health and social care partnerships and so on. One issue that came up at the committee is the integration of local data to help to manage the processes better. Page 3 of the Government response refers to the rather catchily titled health and social care data integration and intelligence project, which will

“enable every local authority to link social care data with health data”.

An issue that comes up from time to time is about how the different systems in areas of responsibility that were previously sort of independent are now coming together. Of course, it is a burden to bring together the data to manage that. I am pleased to see that comment, but I do not underestimate the difficulty that that could involve, particularly when, for example, general practitioner systems across Scotland are different and are all over the place. I wonder how the health boards and local authorities will proceed with that. I am happy to keep an eye on that and get progress reports as things develop. That is a crucial issue—it is about data management and doing it correctly for patients.



Public Audit Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Willie Coffey

I add a comment based on examples that, although they are not similar to the case in point, raise the same issues of governance and accountability. Putting guidance in place does not guarantee that people will implement or even read it, and we have seen a few examples of that over the years. Ultimately, how can we make the boards of colleges accountable so that we can ensure that they practice and put in place the guidance that is issued to them? We expect them to do it and we hope that they will do it, but how do we make sure that they do it? We would hate to think that something like this could occur again without any line of accountability.



Public Audit Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Willie Coffey

Okay. This is my very last point, convener. Mr Pryce mentioned that we need to be in at the beginning, before the next change in 2020. I have a general question on that. When the EU thinks that it is about to make a major political change that will clearly have an impact on the systems and processes that will need to deliver and drive that change, how can we engage better at the system level to ensure that the political decision makers are fully aware of what they are doing and the impact that it will have on the systems that are required to carry through those policies? This seems to be a classic case of politicians making a decision and not being fully aware of the impact that it will have on the systems that are required to deliver the outcomes of that decision.



Public Audit Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Willie Coffey

Thanks for that summary, which was very helpful and fair. You mentioned that user acceptance testing has been completed. Who are the users and who else needs to be involved in the process of acceptance testing? I presume, from your comments, that the Commission needs to have some oversight of the systems to check that they are fit for purpose and will deliver what we think they should deliver.



Public Audit Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Willie Coffey

Is it reasonable to ask you whether any of that complexity could have been anticipated—and if so, how much—given the political discussions about the CAP that were happening within the European Union? It was expected that there were going to be changes. You mentioned the 20-year-old IT system, which, in my experience, does only what it always did and nothing else. Is it fair to ask you how prepared we might, should or could have been for some of the changes that came our way?



Public Audit Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Willie Coffey (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)

I raised the problem of changes to requirements and specifications the last time, and I would like to pick up on one or two of those issues with you. It is probably unusual for witnesses to receive a sympathetic hearing at the Public Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament, but I have sympathy because of what you appear to be facing. There is nothing worse for a software engineer who is trying to design a system than to discover that it is growing arms and legs as they work through the process and the difficulties that that can cause.

Mr Dickson, in your opening remarks you said that sound IT systems are a requirement for qualification for payments. Have we complied with what the EU requires of us now to enable the process to continue smoothly and for the payments to be made?



European and External Relations Committee 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
Willie Coffey

We know that the prevalence of food banks has expanded ridiculously in the UK. I do not know what the position is in relation to food banks elsewhere in the European Union—I do not know whether other countries are experiencing the same problem. That is obviously connected to poverty. I would be very interested to get a European perspective on the matter.



European and External Relations Committee 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
Willie Coffey

I return to the issue of poverty, which Rod Campbell raised. Some of the figures are pretty frightening. According to the European Union’s own statistics, in 2010, 80 million people were, in the EU’s terminology, at risk of living in poverty and social exclusion; it is now 122 million.

According to a European Union document that I am looking at here, the target is to reduce the figure by 20 million over the next six years. That hardly seems ambitious, given the extent of the problem. I am not absolutely certain what our role might be, but I am interested in seeing what the committee can do to get a handle on the issue. I know that the European Union has strategies and initiatives to try to tackle it, but I would like to go into the issue in a bit more in depth to see what is going on, what those initiatives are and how we can perhaps influence them a bit more than we have done to date.

The “Brussels Bulletin” says:

“In the UK, 24.8% of the population is at risk of poverty”

or social exclusion. Many of those people will be in poverty, never mind being “at risk of poverty”. At some future stage, perhaps the committee could do a broader paper on poverty issues and how they impact on communities, not just in Scotland but throughout the European Union. I would be very interested to do a wee bit more work on that.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Willie Coffey
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11636: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10321: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10186: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09679: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08817: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08376: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08319: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08271: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07822: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07817: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Willie Coffey
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03765: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03627: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03579: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03567: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03430: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03391: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03264: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03131: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03109: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02951: Willie Coffey, Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/02/2014 Show Full Question >>

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